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How To Control Your Data Online

We’ve become accustomed to online companies hosting our data, but this practice is actually highly inefficient. This page explains the situation pretty simply. My advice is to use “unhosted” online services that support personal data control, or “zero-knowledge” services that encrypt your data before it leaves your computer. I’ve created a list of suitable services at the end of this …

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Efficient In 2012: Collaborative Consumption

The rise of collaborative consumption is perhaps the most efficient movement arising in society today. Basically, collaborative consumption is based on an economic model where products are shared or rented instead of owned. This model may become pervasive enough to replace the ownership-based model we have today. For good introduction to this movement, see the video above. It’s by Rachel …

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Mint: A Free, Easy-To-Use Operating System

I’ve converted my Apple computers to run Mint Linux in place of OS X. Mint Linux was built to be easy to install and a system that novice users could enjoy. Based on Ubuntu, Mint became the poplar desktop version of Linux this year. Linux is a free, open-source operating system that been around for 30 years. It’s not widely …

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The Best LED Reading Lamps

The small size and directional light output of LEDs make them ideal for personal reading lights, and they are energy efficient too. Here are some of the best LED reading lamps:

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The Best LED Camping Lanterns

LED Lanterns are perhaps the most useful portable lights — they can be used as camp lights, work lights, or emergency lights. The LEDs inside aren’t susceptible to shocks, and they burn for decades.

The Best Golf Cart Chargers

What do you want in a golf cart charger? Golf cart batteries are lead-acid batteries that operate at 36 or 48 volts. Like all lead-acid batteries, they must be charged at a specific voltage and amperage levels. They cannot be fast charged — a full charge requires 14 to 16 hours.

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A Review Of NiZn Batteries

NiZn (Nickel-Zinc) batteries are a type of rechargeable AA battery that operates with a nominal voltage 1.6 volts, which is very close to the 1.5 volts of alkaline batteries. This makes NiZn battery perform well in high-drain devices like handheld games.

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The Best 9V Rechargeable Battery

In A Nutshell The highest-capacity 9V rechargeable: Accupower’s 300 mAh 9 Volt Rechargeable NiMH Battery The best low-discharge 9V rechargeable: Tenergy Centura 9V 200mAh Low Self-Discharge NiMH Rechargeable Batteries The best lithium-ion 9V rechargeable: EBL 9V Lithium Ion Batteries The Details Low-self discharge 9v Ni-MH batteries have become available in the last few years. The “low-self discharge” label means these batteries …

The Best Rechargeable AA Batteries For Flash

In A Nutshell When recharging a camera flash, you need a battery capable of delivering a high amount of current in a short time. Ideally, you want the batteries with the highest rated capacity. The highest capacity rechargeable AA batteries are: Ansmann’s 2850 mAh batteries and Powerex’s 2700 mAh batteries. Of these two batteries, Powerex’s 2700 mAh gets the most positive reviews from photographers. It …

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The Best Ni-MH Battery Chargers

In A Nutshell The best Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery charger is a “smart charger” like the LaCrosse BC-700 Charger (sells for $36).  Smart chargers have circuitry to prevent overcharging and damaging your batteries. They also provide features that allow you to test and “renew” Ni-MH batteries. If you are looking for a charger that also charges C, D and 9V batteries, we …

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The Best Women’s Cruiser Bikes

Recently we featured men’s cruiser bicycles. Now let’s take a look at women’s cruiser bikes, which have become very popular in recent years. Nearly every major bike manufacturer now offers at least one cruiser model, if not an entire line. We feature some of the best looking bikes below, with an eye towards classic styling.

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Efficient Planes Good For Business; Gas Guzzlers Get Left Behind

The airline industry is one of the nation’s biggest consumers of fuel – no surprise there – but new aircraft technology has dramatically improved planes’ fuel efficiency.  Besides drastically cutting carbon emissions, more efficient jetliners have proven critical for airlines’ financial bottom lines, and companies clinging to outdated technology are paying the price, as evidenced by this week’s American Airlines …

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Wind Lens Turbines Will Provide More, Cheaper Energy

Wind Lens Turbines Will Provide More, Cheaper Energy

Wind turbines are one of the most promising sources of large-scale renewable power.  Wind power doesn’t produce any pollutants, and unlike water or fuel resources, wind is literally an endless source of energy.  However, wind farms do require a substantial amount of space, which is why a much more efficient design like the “Wind Lens” could make wind energy cheaper …

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Energy Efficient Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

Home improvement can pay for itself, and even put cash back in your pocket – if you’re putting your money in the right places.  Renovations that increase your home’s energy efficiency aren’t just nice for the environment, they can be economical as well.  The folks at One Block Off The Grid offer a great guide to help you sort out …

Efficient Home Heating With Pellet Stoves

The newest generation of home heating stoves, which burn fuel pellets instead of firewood, can be a great choice for fending off winter’s chilly temperatures.  Pellet stoves are available in a wide range of styles and designs, and they can provide an extremely fuel-efficient source of heat.

Can An “Earthscraper” Provide Efficient Urban Living?

Mexico City is a sprawling city with nearly 9 million residents, and some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the world.  So how could developers possibly squeeze a 65-story structure into the middle of the city’s historic district?  Instead of building upwards, a newly proposed design calls for building down into the ground, creating the world’s first “earthscraper”.

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Top U.S. Cities For Winter Bicycle Commuting

For bicycle commuters, continuing to pedal through the winter months can be a daunting task, especially if one lives in a northern city. Often the decision for winter bicycle commuting comes down to perspective: Is cycling a sport or a viable form of transportation that offers a multitude of advantages such as saving money and improving the health of the …

Electric Vehicles – Looking Back, Looking Forward At The Smithsonian

Bet you didn’t know that an electric car was the nation’s best-selling vehicle back in ’04.  1904, that is.  If you think the late 1990’s were the dawn of this technology, think again – electric vehicles have been around for over a century.  A new display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History, part of their “America On The Move” …

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The Best Shower Filters

I just replaced my shower filters, so I thought I’d update my best shower filter review from earlier this year. Each update to the review generates a lot of useful comments. So I’m incorporating what I’ve learned from those comments into this latest review.

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Gas-Free Commuting: Efficient And Amazingly Economical

Automobiles are a major source of pollution (no surprise there).  Cars also play a big role in our reliance on petroleum, which has its own environmental and socio-political baggage.  So reducing your time behind the wheel may be the socially responsible thing to do, but it literally has a more direct payoff too – namely, saving you a stunning amount …